Lorrie Walker and I recently took a trip to a local news affiliate’s station. We regularly pitch stories to them, and it was a great experience; so great that I urge you – whether you are a public relations professional or a PR DIYer – to take advantage of if ever given the chance.
Now, we didn’t just decide to announce ourselves at the studio so we could make the rounds networking and pitching stories – that kind of thing just doesn’t fly in the world of journalism. If it did, their halls would be inundated with people like their inboxes are with emails that have subjects lines that read, “a story idea you’ll love.” The way we made it into the studio was by invitation/successful story pitching.
You see, I regularly pitch to all of the local affiliates, and not to just one of their reporters, but to many of them. Sometimes even pitch their producers. I know most of their names and there’s a good chance they know mine. I sign each email and announce myself at the beginning of each phone call – and I’m not ashamed of my shameless branding. I send them well-written pitches and press releases that are relevant to their beat – I want to be known for it.
They don’t always cover my stories, but I know they read my emails. I know this because when I call them, they recall the story I sent. Sometimes they were interested but got so busy with deadlines, they forgot to follow-up. Sometimes, the story just didn’t suit them after all. Whether or not they were able to take the time to commend my excellent writing skills, creativity or let me know they passed the information on to a colleague who was better suited for the story angle, I am polite, understanding and grateful for what little of their time they can lend me. This attitude and mindset paired with a story I just knew was up a reporter’s alley is what got me the golden ticket to the studio. The reporter thanked me for always being so pleasant, sharing a story that was a good fit for them and asked if I would be coming with my client (who was being interviewed) so we could finally meet me in person. What a compliment, and how exciting to know a reporter wanted to meet me and was excited to put a face with my name.
I got to personally meet the loveliest reporter whom I consider more of an email pal than simply a contact, and I got to put faces to the names of the reporters and producers I regularly pitch to. Wasn’t I pleasantly surprised when I introduced myself to people and they not only knew my name, but assured me they were happy to put a face to my name as well? One reporter even took a picture with me and said she would add it to her contacts as “the nice one.” She also described me as persistent. Again, I’m not ashamed. You have to be persistent if you want to be remembered, and if you want to be remembered for someone who is good at what they do, then you have to be good at what you do. I am, and we are at Lorrie Walker Public Relations – of that I’m sure. We strive every day to learn more about our craft, our clients and ourselves. We are confident, competent and do our best – every day.